This is a true record of events that took place in a house known as The Upside-down House. The people in it know who they are, but their names have been omitted to preserve their privacy.

When you have eliminated the impossible, then what remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sherlock Holmes  attr

Lost and Found

She’s only a puppy! That was what they always said, giving her a little pat or a tickle. But what an odd thing to say. She would have to get her head round it, but that was going to be hard, because she was not only a puppy, she was also a person and she lived in a place called Upstairs. The other two lived downstairs. They were not persons, nor were they dogs. They used to live upstairs, but now they lived downstairs. We don’t know how she knew that, but she did. Some thought she could read it in their eyes. She did not see them very often. When she did, she felt they needed a good talking-to. But they are not part of our story, so we will forget about them.

The Stairs were steep and slippy.  When she first saw them she could not go down, it was too scary. Now she was bigger she could have gone down, but she did not. The top of the stairs was her place. She was on guard there and that was her business.

Sometimes, when persons who were not dogs came through The Door at the bottom of the stairs, she was quite still. Then, as they got nearer, part of her started to wag. Usually it was her tail, but as they came up, step by step, her whole body became so waggy that her legs could hardly hold her up. Often the excitement was so much that something else would happen, but we will not talk about that at the moment. Although she did not think about it a lot, she understood that there was something the persons who were not dogs did not seem to know about, the silent calling that pulled you this way and that and filled you with strange feelings. Sometimes she would just breathe them in and they made her mouth water. They were always there, often so weak that she would have to seek them out to make sure everything was in order.

If there was ever a puzzled look on her face, the reason was clear for anyone to see. Every day, at least once and sometimes twice or more, all the persons who were not dogs would sit around something called The Table, and start to discuss her special subject. No matter how hard she tried to join them she could not.  hen she came near, a hand would push her away and there could be loud noises that frightened her just a little bit. Maybe one day she would get to join in. The point was that things were coming to the table and calling to her just like all of those things on the floor that were calling all the time, but these were stronger and much more interesting. It all seemed so unfair!

Sometimes these voices said such things to her that she just had to run round and round and round. Round the trees in the garden or, in the house, round the sofa, round the chairs and round the table, first one way and then the other. Often the persons who were not dogs seemed to want her to stop. They might try to catch her but they had no chance. It was on those occasions that she would give them a scornful look, maybe even two or three scornful looks, but she was not proud, and when it was all over  she would go up to them and give them a consoling lick.

Sometimes this would happen when she met a dog who was not also a person. This was a strange thing.  A dog on its own did not seem to be a person, but a dog with persons who were not dogs did seem to be a dog who was also a person. She was going to think about it all again some time, but not just now, she was much too busy. Just now she wasn’t quite sure, but it must have been something like that because when they were not persons they could run and chase round and round and tumble and roll and do some real biting, but, naturally, only in fun. That was the big thing of course. That was what it was all leading to, biting practice. One of the persons who was not a dog did not seem to mind some biting, provided it started off very slowly. That was the test. It was easy to start, but not so easy to stop, and most of the persons who were not dogs made some very loud and frightening noises  when she was just enjoying that nice feeling of just doing what dogs most like doing.

All this went on and on until one day something new happened. Three new persons who were not dogs came to Upstairs. Each of them had their own silent voice and they also had another silent voice, the voice of a dog who was also a person. But this dog who was also a person was not with them, and that was why they needed her. Now there was another thing and it was much more exciting.

One of the new persons who was not a dog, was a boy. She had not seen many boys. Her master was a kind of boy and the one who gave her the biting practice was also a kind of a boy, but this one was a real boy. As every dog who is also a person knows, boys are special. They are more like dogs who are also persons than any of the other persons who are not dogs are, and every dog who is also a person needs a  real boy in its life. At last she had one of her very own. She tried some licking practice. It went quite well, espcially with his left ear. Then she tried to trick him. She trotted away, as though she was going to see if there was anything in her bowl. Then, as if by magic she turned and came, almost flying through the air, to lick his right ear.

After that it was time for more biting practice, but really only quite gentle stuff. Later on they all started to go down the stairs and she sat with her head just tilting to one side and wondering if her boy might be coming back and giving her tail a hopeful wag when she thought he was changing his mind.

Now she was sad, but she did not forget their silent voices. Some time later they came back again and when her boy climbed up the stairs the wagging began and her legs turned to jelly and she forgot everything she had been training herself not to do. After this she saw her boy most days, but every night he went away again and that was why she made her plan.

Persons who were not dogs have a special trick that they were always doing. They like to take part of their fur coats off and either throw it on the floor or put it somewhere she could not reach. Later they would put it back on again. Even though they might be anywhere in Upstairs she knew exactly which coat belonged to which person who was not a dog because of the silent voices. Some of the silent voices seemed to be even louder when the coat was on the floor than when it was on the person.

She could recognise each of the per

One day her boy had been outside with the other persons who were not dogs and when he came back he took off part of his coat and then they had some licking and biting practice before he started to watch that dreadful noisy thing which always seemed to stop persons who were not dogs doing anything interesting. It was so annoying that often, when they were doing this watching, she felt she had to run at them and do some serious licking and maybe get in a quick practice bite, but it was really all very boring. Then she discovered that even on these occasions there was still some fun to be had. If she could find something, perhaps a bit of person fur with its silent voice, there could be chasing and pulling and tearing and it was really not bad after all.

That was where her plan came in. The boy coat, or part of it, with its delicious silent voice, was just lying there. All she had to do was hide it and then she could bring it out and play with it whenever she was lonely again. Then she had another thought and it was such a good thought that it gave her tummy a little wag inside. What if he could never go away again without it!She remembered that every day the persons who were not dogs did something called going to work, or going to school, and she had to spend a long time waiting for them to come back. Now she had something to play with, and whenever she heard them coming to The Door she could hide it again, so that nobody would ever know and take it away, as persons who were not dogs always seemed to do every time she found something really exciting to play with.

Maybe she had heard the words School Uniform before, or maybe she hadn’t, and maybe she had heard, holidays-ended and going-home before and maybe she knew what they meant, because she did know that something serious was going to happen. Her boy was a bit sad, and dogs always know that. Also the other persons who were not dogs seemed to be trying to find something. They were looking for it everywhere, but nobody thought of asking her to help, although they did look in her basket more than once. It was such a good game and she had to join in. She found several things, an odd sock, a piece of cloth and a plastic bone, but nobody seemed to be interested.

The next evening all of the persons who were not dogs went out and left her alone. This was her chance. They had gone and she needed something to play with, so out it came, but rather like Cinderella, her plan did not quite work, though not in the same way.

When the persons who were not dogs came back, she was so excited that she ran to the top of the stairs and almost tumbled down them with delight. In fact she was so excited that, as so often happened, she forgot the one thing her plan depended on. It was then that the youngest person who was not a dog picked her up and squeezed her a bit and looked down and saw The Special Toy. But this youngest person was only a girl and she did not really understand. If she had, things might have worked out differently!

After that there was a lot of talking and some laughing. Someone had done something clever, so she had to join in the fun. Sadly she had not taken it in that her house of cards had just collapsed!

Each of the persons who were not dogs looked all around Upstairs trying to find where the Hiding Place could have been, but none of them was able to find it, even though the silent voice was calling it out to them all the time.

She thought that perhaps she would tell someone where it was because it was such a good joke that they would laugh and tickle her tummy, so she made up her mind. Next time she had a chance for some biting practice, he was the one she would tell.  

Unfortunately it was quite hard for her to think of two things at once, so every time he came up the stairs, she completely forgot what she had planned to do.

sons who were not dogs very easily. Firstly there were those noises they were always making, like barking, but not quite as sensible. All of the persons who were not dogs seemed to have one noise just for her. Perhaps that was what made her also a person, she was not quite sure. Some of them changed it a bit, but that did not matter much. Anyway, when she heard it she would always stop whatever she was doing, or at least try to stop. Also she could recognise persons and dogs by their shape and the way they moved, but far more than that, she could recognise each one by their own silent voice that seemed to be calling all of the time, even among all of those other silent calls that she was always seeking and hearing.